Was Penguin 2.0 What SEOs Expected It To Be?

Penguin 2.0 (or #4) officially rolled out on Wednesday May 22, 2013 but tools like MozCast showed turbulent weather in the days before Google’s long awaited algorithm update. If you haven’t been counting the days, Penguin 1.0 first rolled out on April 24, 2012.

Changes Foreseen
Matt Cutts and Google warned that there were many drastic changes to come before summer. But now that that it’s here, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much “jarring” and “jolting” changes as when Penguin first rolled out. Still, there were casualties from this update as SearchMetrics found, specifically in the industries of: online gaming, porn, and even brands like Dish and The Salvation Army.

Big Data for a “Big” Update
Taken directly from Dr. Pete’s post, here are the changes within industries as seen by MozCast data:

33.0% – Retailers & General Merchandise
31.2% – Real Estate
30.8% – Dining & Nightlife
29.1%  – Internet & Telecom
26.0% – Law & Government
24.4%  – Finance
23.5%  – Occasions & Gifts
20.8%  – Beauty & Personal Care
17.3% – Travel & Tourism
15.7%  – Vehicles
15.5% – Arts & Entertainment
15.4%  – Health
15.0% – Home & Garden
14.2%  – Family & Community
13.4% – Apparel
13.1%  – Hobbies & Leisure
12.0%  – Jobs & Education
11.5% – Sports & Fitness
7.8% – Food & Groceries
-3.7%  – Computers & Consumer Electronics

Best Practices Going Forward
Although it’s too early to distinguish the best methods of “recovery” for the latest Penguin update, some things remain to be clear:

– Raise authority with quality content and active engagement with your readers
– Take advantage of Authorship and other structured data for reviews, breadcrumbs, product prices and more
– Improve social signals and point it back to your site
– Natural content and links will win in the long run over black or grey hat techniques
– Co-citations, social mentions and natural links are an important part of your backlink profile
– Think about how you can earn more readers, clicks and links instead of buying them
– Disavow bad, questionable links and work on building better ones
– Recovery may not be an option

Better Alternatives and Options?
Perhaps, from what Google has been saying, SEOs expected the worst to happen or in the best case scenario, for their affected site to jump back to what it was. This doesn’t seem to be the case as only 2.3% of queries were affected and some people just continued to stay where they were. Remember, only about 9% of sites affected by Penguin claimed recovery.

This last point is something that you might not want to hear, but it may have to be something that needs to be done. But as a business owner, it might be just the thing that your website needs to move on and survive. Waiting over 1 year just for the off chance that your site will recover is a long time to wait for something that is uncertain. During that time, you could have worked on building a new, better site. Especially since there is so much information on website best practices and white hat techniques, which is drastically different than methods that were acceptable in the early 2000’s. Change isn’t what we always want, but sometimes it’s what we needed.

If your site was hit by Penguin 1.0 and there still seems to be no improvement after 2.0, it’s time for a change. Contact us today for more information on your specific case.

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